The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



What’s the next big thing?

| Thursday, February 16, 2017

When I got back home for winter break, I went through a box of some of my childhood items and found my old fourth generation iPod Touch from my middle school days. I turned it back on and was immediately greeted by the old operating system, iOS 6.1.6. After using the iPod Touch for a couple of minutes, I realized not a lot has changed with current smartphones.

A lot of flagship smartphone devices boast a great deal of improvements and extra features. But if you break it down to the bare backbone, they are the same as their predecessors. You just have to add the word “better” to a certain component of the devices and there you have it — a “new, revolutionary” phone. For example, the iPhone 7 just has a better screen, better data connection, better storage, better processor, better security and better build. The same thing applies to its competitors, the Samsung Galaxy lineups and other Android devices.

It was not a surprise when I later heard the news that the smartphone market was destined to die out in five years or so. Take a look at tablets, laptops, and other hybrids. Companies have seemed to just follow the path of “if there is nothing wrong with it, leave it.” As a result, the competition within the technology field has driven these devices to become faster, lighter, and stronger, and now it has reached a point that customers do not see any further improvements as a necessary push to upgrade their devices.

Even though I bought the iPad Air in 2013, I don’t find the need to upgrade to the latest tablet out there. I’m sure later in the future, we will reach a point where we won’t upgrade our smartphones as much either. This stagnation within the smart device market makes me wonder what the next new thing will be.

When the first set of mobile phones came out, it changed how people communicated by making it more personal and portable; it allowed consumers to reach others for one-on-one conversations or message chat. When the first iPhone came out in 2007 along with other smartphones, it changed how people interacted within social groups and networks. Apps like Instagram and Snapchat have changed how people share and exchange information.

What kind of change will the next level of communication bring the society to? What form of communication will it utilize? Will it be virtual reality headsets? What will be the next big thing?

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Tags: , , , , ,

About Joseph Han

Contact Joseph